Spike Strikes Again!

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This is a story about a beloved scarf. Several years ago (pre-blog) my sister put in a request. She wanted a bright pink scarf. That was all she requested. The design was up to me. I purchased two skeins of KnitPicks Bare in worsted weight, along with some pink dye. I hand dyed the yarn and got a gorgeous bright pink with just slight color variations throughout the yarn. Then I held the yarn doubled and knit a scarf with a drop stitch pattern, adding tassels to each end. I ended up with a nice, thick scarf that was still open and let some air circulate. It was nice and long, too. In fact, this is a close up picture of the final product:

My sister has continued to wear this scarf each winter (I gave it to her Christmas of 2007) and she reports often that someone stops her and asks where she got her scarf or comments on it.

In early spring, my sister and mom moved back in together. Last week, they decided to go on vacation today to Florida. I fed their cats while they were gone. A few days after they got back from their trip, I got a call from my sister telling me about her beloved scarf. Seems Spike found an end of it. It was hanging in a spare closet with her winter coat and they weren’t aware that it was hanging down enough to be in danger.

Now, for those of you unaware of what danger I am talking about, let me point you to this post. Take a moment to read that post and you will start to understand that a hand knit, wool scarf could be in danger.

This weekend I visited my mom and sister. And my sister brought me the scarf, wondering what the heck we could do with it. The first several feet were fine, but the last foot and a half or so? It almost brought me to tears. See? (Sorry about the crappy cell phone pictures.)

You can click to make the picture bigger to get the scope of the damage.

So, we put the scarf in a bag and I brought it home to see what I could salvage. I was able to unravel the scarf, although I had a lot to throw away at the end. I did felt the ends together on several longer pieces to minimize waste, but some of the pieces were just tiny and not worth even trying. I am now hunting for a cowl pattern to see if I can give my sister something else she will love just as much but with a bit less yarn. And my sister is on the hunt for a safer storage space for her scarf!

Mystery Solved

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Well, I hate to admit it, but the mystery stripe in my sweater has been solved. I was showing it to my husband tonight and touched the stripe. I noticed the yarn was rather rough compared to the softer yarn of the darker color. That was when it dawned on me.

When I ordered my yarn from Knitpicks, I also ordered yarn for my son’s new cardigan. His sweater will be in orange and brown. I ordered 7 skeins of Swish Worsted Superwash in Truffle for my mom’s sweater:

Along with 3 skeins of Chocolate Wool Of The Andes:

And while they look different in the pictures here, when you look at them in the box, in a darkened office lit only by the computer screen, it is easy to mix them up. And obviously that is exactly what I did!

So now I feel really dumb! It wasn’t an issue of non-matching dye-lots. It was the fact that I used a completely different yarn!!!

I think I will work on socks for a while. I can get a whole sock out of one skein of yarn, so at least this problem won’t occur with those!

Christmas Stress

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In the past, I have planned way ahead and knitted many Christmas gifts for family and friends. This year, I decided to take it easy. I have been enjoying sewing more, especially since I got my new sewing machine, so I have notbeen knitting nearly as much. But, my mom wanted a sweater. I haven’t made her a sweater yet, so I agreed. And she wanted one that was short sleeved, so even better! My sister requested socks. Easy enough. And my husband found gloves that were missing the thumbs and forefingers so you can wear them and still use your iPhone or Touch. Not too difficult, either.

I bought the yarn for my projects and started on my mom’s sweater. We agreed on the lovely Juliet sweater from Zephyr Style. She wanted it in brown with one button at the waist. It is knitted top down with no seaming. And, even though I am not double stranding and using worsted weight yarn, it is knit on size 10 1/2 needles, so it knits up quickly. It took me a while to really get into it, but I am finally only about 6 rows from binding off! I was so excited and today I decided to spread it out and take a good look at it.

Today has been our first really sunny day in a while. And our lighting at home stinks. So seeing the true color of yarn can be tricky. But today? In the sunlight? What I saw made me want to cry!

No, that isn’t a trick of the light or my camera being crappy. That is what the sweater actually looks like. And it is not supposed to be striped, either! Somehow, I missed that one skein of my yarn was a different dye lot. Usually I don’t have an issue with that when I order from Knitpicks, so I didn’t even bother to check. I was in too much of a hurry. And look where it got me!  That section was about 2 skeins of yarn back. I started it on the second lace repeat and I am now on the 7th. While the pattern is easy and fairly quick, it will still take me a while to rip back and restart. Thankfully, I ordered an extra skein of yarn and they seem to match the main yarn perfectly. It is just that one rouge skein.

We have a Christmas party with my husband’s family tonight. I have been making food for that, plus baking Christmas cookies for cookie plates to give to friends and neighbors. I have more sewing to do. Not sure I will get it all finished in the three weeks left before Christmas, but I will try my hardest. I do have a few finished items to share, but will wait until I am over the sting of my latest setback.

Sometimes, things don’t go as planned

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More often than not, I blog about finished objects that I am proud of and that look decent. Sure, there may be small errors, but as long as they are not glaringly obvious, I leave them alone. And most of the time, with a few small mistakes, I don’t have many issues with the projects I start. And then, you have days like Monday.

Monday night I was in a very creative mood, but didn’t have anything specific going, so I decided to start a new project. My cousin is pregnant and due in September, so I decided I would make something as part of her shower gift. I have some patterns for baby shoes saved, so I decided to go that route. Only my printer wouldn’t work. I found out tonight my dear husband had unplugged it! So, I traced the pattern off the computer screen. Whatever works, right? I found cute material (in keeping with my general plan not to buy more fabric, I used some pieces of flannel originally cut to make diapers – until my son decided to potty train suddenly!) I started sewing. I loved the first one (although I do think it looks too big to fit a 0-6 month baby!) So, I moved on to the second. Got it finished and laid them next to each other to compare.

baby shoes

Not the best picture, but do you see what happened there? Here, how about a second look.

inside shoeAh! Now you see it, don’t you? Yep, I sewed one sole on upside down! Crap! I have started ripping it apart, but it is still so darn discouraging. I ended up putting the project down for later.

I decided that I would then attempt to make slippers for my son. How hard could that be? I had a pattern saved for the basic design, but they were also sized for 0-6 months. I was also afraid that they would be way too wide if I upsized them from the original pattern, especially since my kids have long, skinny feet. So, I sorta drafted my own pattern.

slipperThis was a complete disaster! They didn’t fit at all, the sewing was terrible and, well, a second slipper wasn’t even attempted.

So, I finally moved on. I have been thinking about trying crochet again. I have this orange bulky weight yarn in my stash that I thought would make a perfect blanket for my daughter’s dolls. But I HATE knitting blankets. Too boring! But I could crochet one quickly. So, I got out the yarn, pulled out a crochet hook, and started doing what I remembered to be crochet. After getting out a crochet instruction book I owned, I realized what I was doing was not crochet, or at least not what they described in the book, but that didn’t stop me. I liked the fabric, so why change? It wasn’t something to be judged or anything! I got through a whole skein in one evening, then looked at the piece. Uh, I think I somehow lost some stitches. It was turning into a triangle instead of the rectangle I intended! I frogged it and started over. The second attempt was better, but still not great.

crochet

No, that isn’t a trick of the eye or due to perspective. It really does get skinnier the further I went. Ugh.

So, at that point I put it down and picked up something I KNEW I could do – knitting a pair of socks. Thankfully, they are turning out well. I won’t let my disasters get me down. I learn something from all of them. Plus, I still have my successes behind me to bolster my confidence. And I plan to be back soon to post some of those!